For those of us that are lucky enough to have a dog or dogs in our lives, we know how much joy and unconditional love they bring us every single day, so it’s only fair that we do the very best we can to show the same amount of love to them, and the best way we can do that is by knowing how to be a good dog owner.
What owning a dog means
We expect certain things from our dogs, like discipline and good behaviour but that shouldn’t just apply to your dog it also applies to you, their pet-parent too. Getting a dog is not just about play time and fun walks and a cute little companion to share your life with, it is the start of a lifetime of commitment and responsibility.
A dog is completely dependent on you to make sure all its needs are seen to, from basic food and water to health care and keeping them safe. Here are some of the main tips you need to make sure you have in place if you have just got your first dog or are thinking of getting a dog.
10 tips to make sure you are the best dog owner you can be
- Make sure you have your dog registered, one of the worst things imaginable to a dog owner is losing their canine companion, but if the worst ever did happen and you have your dog registered then getting them back can be a lot easier and quicker. Here in the UK our dogs must be micro chipped, in some countries it maybe a license you need, also make sure if you ever change address that you update the information, and when out always ensure your dog has a collar with an ID tag, so if your furry family member goes missing and someone finds them they’ll know who to call.
- Make sure you have them set up with a good veterinary practice, your dog’s health is as important as your own so you need to make sure that if ever needed you have them registered with one. They should also receive regular health checks, dental checks, vaccinations if required, and you can talk to them about making an informed decision on spaying/neutering your dog and any other issues that may arise.
- Ensure they have a good balanced nutritional diet. This will keep them strong and healthy and avoid some of the illnesses that can occur such as obesity, diabetes etc from feeding them the wrong food and amounts.
- An important thing to do with your dog from the start is to make sure you socialise them. With other dogs, people and places, this will help them become comfortable in any situation, and helps you avoid ending up with the problems of a nervous dog that hates leaving the familiarity of its home.
- Groom your dog regularly, depending on the type of coat you dog has will depend on how often your dog needs grooming, a long or double coated dog should be groomed daily, others maybe a couple of times a week, when they are moulting they need to be groomed daily, to remove any dead hair, to prevent matting of the coat, and also less hair around your home.
- Exercise your dog every day, as with the grooming the amount of exercise can vary depending on the type of dog you have, walking with your dog is not only exercise for them but great exercise for you too. It doesn’t just keep your dog fit and healthy physically, it keeps them mentally stimulated, prevents boredom and a tired dog that has been exercised is less likely to be destructive in the home especially when left alone.
- Always clean up after your dog, any good dog owner should always clean up after their dog goes to the toilet, whether at home in your own yard or out on a walk, the main reason for this is to prevent any infections that can be picked up, by yourself, your other dogs and literally anyone or anything else if out in public.
- Make sure when taking on a dog you have everything you will need, leads, collars, harnesses, bowls, beds, toys etc, and most importantly as a responsible owner make sure that you can financially afford to take on an extra mouth to feed and care for, for what could be up to the next 15 years or more.
- Training is an important factor in bringing a dog into your life having structure to their routine will make a happier healthy dog that will know what is expected of it, and vice versa, spending time training together will help form a relationship with your dog, and a happy well-balanced dog rarely develops any behaviour issues in the future.
- Always make sure that everyday you make time to play, it’s a great way to bond with your dog, and it’s fun, for both of you, the stresses of life are soon forgotten when you spend an hour playing with your dog, also a tired dog is less likely to get into mischief.
The most important thing
Most importantly and this is not on my list because this is just something that you do without question, is make sure you Love your dog unconditionally. Treat them like the best friend that they are. Never hurt them, punish them, beat or abandon them. There may be times when you feel frustrated, or you have had a bad day, but never take it out on your dog, and if any issues arise that cause you to feel angry or frustrated with them contact a professional either vet or dog trainer and they will be able to help with any problems or issues you may be having, there is always someone you can turn to for help.
No matter if you are a first time dog owner or a seasoned veteran who’s been lucky enough to share your life with many dogs over the years, the learning never stops for a dog owner. Each and every dog is different just as we are, and the more ready you are to bring that new dog home, whether a pup or an older rescue dog, big or small, long coated or short coated, whatever type of dog your new family member is you will be ready for them, and the easier it will be for you and both, I hope these tips might be helpful, feel free to add some of your own in the comments below.